Two key batsmen Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer along with all-rounder Kemo Paul have decided not to participate in the West Indies 14-man squad for the historic “bio-secure” tour of England scheduled to start next month.
Cricket West Indies (CWI) announced in a statement that left-handers Bravo, Hetmyer and Paul will skip the three-Test series that will be played behind closed doors, amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has already infected close to 28,000 people in the United Kingdom and caused almost 40,000 deaths.
“CWI fully respects their decision to choose to do so. As previously stated, CWI will not hold this decision against these players when considering future selection,” the statement said.
The side is captained by Jason Holder and includes regular players Kraigg Braithwaite, Roston Chase, Shai Hope and Kemar Roach.
Jermaine Blackwood, who was dropped from the team three years ago, has returned following his heavy scoring in the recent West Indies First-Class Championship.
The new faces are middle-order batsman Nkrumah Bonner, making his Test squad debut after being one of the leading batsmen in the 2020 West Indies Championship with 523 runs in seven matches at an average of 58.11; and 22 year-old fast bowler Chemar Holder, the leading fast bowler in the West Indies Championship with 36 wickets in eight matches at 18.91 each, and a member of the successful ICC Under-19 World Cup winning side in 2016.
Chief selector Roger Harper has expressed high hopes for the newcomers saying that Chemar Holder is an exciting young fast bowler, who is coming off an excellent domestic First- Class season. He should enjoying bowling in England.
Subject to the final approval of the UK government, the West Indies will defend the Wisden Trophy, starting on July 8. The players, who will all be tested for COVID-19 next week, are scheduled to fly to England on private charters.
CWI selectors have also chosen 11 reserves to accompany the squad on the tour, among them Sunil Ambris and Shannon Gabriel, to train and help prepare the Test squad and ensure replacements are available in case of any injury.